Is eating grains good for you?

5 Reasons to stop eating grains

The cavemen diet (Paleo) suggests removing grains from your diet completely.

One of the reasons is history. From what we know large amounts of grains became available with the start of agriculture. Agriculture marked the end of the cavemen area.

Others bring up the argument of evolution. Their standpoint is that after only 10.000 years our organism and metabolism cannot have adapted to the new food. Therefore, it is hard to digest.

Should you eat grains?

Some say that grains are tasty, others say that eating grains in its different forms is very convenient.

Especially in many countries of Europe a lot of artisanry evolves around grains. After all, grains are a natural product.

There are valid reasons - cavemen diet discussion aside - to stop eating grains.

1. Anti-nourishing contents

Gluten is only one of the potentially health-hazardous lectins found in grains.

Phytic acid is another anti-nourishing substances found in grains that suggest that eating grains is not a good idea.

These anti-nourishing substances make other useful nutrients inaccessible. They can harm the colon tract and lead to other diseases including:

  • Diabetes
  • Inflammation
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Therefore, grains are not only unhealthy for people who have already been diagnosed with coeliac disease but potentially for everyone.

A few traditional cooking methods can lower the negative impact. Also, some segments of the population can deal better with the anti-nourishing contents than others.

In other words: There is a general health hazard potential. but the negative impact is larger for some than for others.

A big part of the problem is industrial mass production. Related read Why our Food is too Cheap

2. Degradation of soil and land

Grain is grown in monocultures. In most cases, the excessive use of fertilizers is supposed to make up for the loss of nutrients in the soil that is caused by monocultures.

5 reasons for eliminating grains from your diet

Soil eutrophication is only one side-effect of monoculture. The natural biodiversity of animal habitats is largely reduced.

In addition to that the consequence of industrialized monoculture is: In some places, several inches of soil have been washed away by wind and rain. The remaining soil is as good as dead. It contains nearly no nutrients or soil organisms (small creatures that live in the soil.).

Even the organic approach in the current state is no sustainable alternative.

Some sources say that we can only continue like this for another 50 years before facing desertification of those areas.

3. Low nutrient content

Grain does not contain a lot of nutrients compared to vegetables like spinach, carrots, cabbage, kale, salads or fruits and berries.

To eat the healthy amount of micro-nutrients a person would have to eat way more grains than necessary with other plant-based foods. Potentially too much resulting in obesity and overweight. If that applies to you read this: Cognitive Neuroscience and Winning the Game of Weight Loss

An under-supply with nutrients is as unwanted and hazardous but would be likely with a well-balanced calorie tracking on the basis of grain foods.

4. Omega-6 fatty acid

We all know about the health benefits of Omega-3. Grains contain a pretty large amount of Omega-6 fatty acids. Large amounts of Omega-6 (as common with a diet that contains a lot of grains) have a negative impact on the Omega-3:Omega-6 ratio.

This can cause severe damage to our health. Several conditions like

  • rheumatism
  • cancer
  • cardiovascular disease

are linked to this imbalance.  

5. High in carbohydrates

  Carbohydrates are not a problem per se. But the high content in grains (60-80 percent) is so large that even small amounts of grain can cause an imbalance of our blood sugar and insulin levels.

Winning the Game of Weight Loss

As in many cultures, like ours in the US, grains are the basis of most meals the amounts we take in are generally very high.   Diabetes was mentioned as one of the possible outcomes of consuming too many grains. Keep in mind that "sugar" is not just sugar but anything our body transforms into sugar - like carbohydrates.   More and more people in the United States and other countries suffer severe problems due to the disrupted levels of insulin and blood sugar.  

Is the conclusion "stop eating grains"?

  There are many reasons to stop to eat grains. Who eats a grain product will probably not drop dead. Everyone should just be aware of the risks.   The more grains you include in your diet the less space there is for healthier alternatives like fruits and vegetables, nuts, fish - even meat.   As always, moderation is the key.   There is nothing wrong with including some healthy grains produced in an artisan way into your diet.   For me personally, one of the biggest treats is a slice of wholegrain bread with organic butter. Or a good pasta once in a while.   A serving of homemade mashed potatoes (made from organic potatoes with natural sea salt) is a different thing than a fast food burger (bun!) with fries and a muffin for dessert.   If you look at countries like India, Vietnam, Japan, China and others you will find that they all eat a lot (like a lot) of carbohydrates. Many of the  "civilization diseases" we are facing are commonly unknown there.

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